(Greenpeace is a member of a new coalition of groups protesting any new projects and the deregulation of Hydro-Quebec.)
The big picture is simple. We want a moratorium on all Hydro projects and to have public hearings on the state of the rivers and what they are intending to do and on what is the mandate of Hydro-Quebec. We believe they are going beyond their mandate. It goes with a Parliamentary Commission which just gave its report and it said basically, no deregulation in Hydro-Quebec. There was a general consensus that Hydro-Quebec is going way beyond its mandate and should be stopped.
With the arrival of André Paillé (Hydro’s new president -Ed.), he has new plans for Hydro-Quebec to make it a highly profitable company. He is managing it as a private company and it’s not a private company. It’s a public utility company and it should be managed according to the wishes of the Quebec population, not only his own beliefs.
I listened to a show he was on two nights ago and he said he has 7 million shareholders to satisfy. Well, these shareholders are asking only one thing from Hydro-Quebec, which is the first mandate HQ should have: the best prices for the consumers. Not for companies, not for big multinationals, not for the States. It’s for Quebecers.
Personally, I’m a shareholder of Hydro-Quebec and I feel they should consult me before developing in ways we don’t want. We don’t want the direction of rivers to be changed because they want to produce more for the neighbours. Also we know that some people will have to pay the price. These people are not living in Montreal. They are living sometimes in remote areas. But they are hostage to a lack of planning and a lack of judgement from two or three individuals in the company. It’s not what is going to happen in a public company. Private company is going to do so, but at least we have the power to change a public company and to make the right decisions.
There are some projects we agree on with Hydro-Quebec. We like the windpower. We feel they should invest more in renewables.
It’s an old statement, but Greece is now making 100 kilowatt-hours of solar power. Where are we with solar? I mean they don’t have the technology we have. They don’t have the finances and the engineers we have. Where are we on solar? We are nowhere in Quebec.
We have the highest potential of wind in Quebec of all of North America. Where are we on wind? We are only 10 megawatts. Once again we are missing the boat to create employment. We have a feeling that there is a big lack of creativity at Hydro-Quebec for creating jobs. Jobs are not only in rivers. Jobs can be in energy efficiency and wind and solar power. Obviously we have old-timers using their whole minds for old creativity.